In a draft that is largely considered four-deep at the top, the Utah Jazz may be on the outside looking in as relates to snagging a first-tier prospect with the fifth pick. However, the next group of players in the selection pool for the 2014 NBA Draft also features some incredibly talented players, some of whom may have All-Star potential. Arizona forward Aaron Gordon is one of those players.
Next to Andrew Wiggins, Gordon is quite possibly the most athletically gifted player in the draft. Whereas the futures of most of the draftees could vary wildly depending on circumstances like health, situation, skillset and development, Gordon’s bust potential could be lower than most just based on sheer athleticism.
From day one, he will be physically superior to the majority of players in the NBA. He’ll be able to beat other bigs up and down the floor, and can handle and distribute the ball like a guard.
Comparisons to former Jazzman and one-time All-Star Andrei Kirilenko have been made given Gordon’s body type and stat-stuffing game. However, a lack of a true position is something they also have in common. Gordon may not be big enough or long enough to contend with NBA fours, and his shooting has been so poor to this point that its hard to imagine him playing SF, a position you’d usually expect to provide at least some kind of floor-spacing threat.
As with the other frontcourt prospects, the issue of a Jazz roster that already features Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert looms large. But one could argue that Gordon could be a player who meshes better with Favors or Kanter than they did with one another. When those two were on the court together last season, Utah struggled on both ends of the floor. Gordon wouldn’t have to dominate the left block on offense as Kanter and Favors are both wont to do.
Defensively, he is faster of foot than either of them and could potentially do a better job of getting out to stretch bigs or even playing the pick-and-roll.
As nice as all of this is, it definitely goes back to the shooting woes when the team is weighing whether or not to select Gordon. He has been atrocious from the foul line for pretty much forever. With the Wildcats, he was well under 50 percent, which leads one to wonder if his shot is broken beyond repair, or if there is some kind of mental issue.
His ability to overcome this major hurdle to NBA success could be the difference between being a Kirilenko-type player or being the next Jan Vesely.
If he can develop his shot and maximize everything his amazing athleticism gives him, Gordon could be right up there with the top-tier talents in this draft. He’s just the kind of player the Jazz would love to acquire with the No. 5 pick., but can he shake such a glaring deficiency from his game?